Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Monday called on the teachers Union to end strike, saying that the education minister is open to dialogue.
"What I insistently ask is that children are not affected. They should not be paying the piper of these protests. I repeat, this government dialogues and respects protests. We are more than willing to dialogue, as we have been doing before," Santos said.
Santos made the appeal during a traditional address on a state-run TV program after thousands of teachers took to the streets of major cities in Colombia, including Bogota.
"We know that we still have a long way to go. We want to do so, we have
every intention of doing so. Teachers need better income, better working
conditions and better training," the Colombian President said.
Meanwhile, the Colombian Minister of Education, Gina Parody, said that the government will not negotiate if the teachers do not return to schools, and will not study their proposal as they are carrying out an indefinite strike.
Parody said that she is open to dialogue with the leaders of Colombia's Education Workers Union on condition that they teachers end the strike and get back to classrooms.